HOW TO RESPOND TO A SNAKE IN YOUR HOME
Snakes can find their way into buildings through small openings. These reptiles may come into your home in search of food, water, or shelter, but once inside, snakes could pose a danger to your family’s safety.
In North Carolina, the snakes you encounter could be harmless or extremely venomous, and you may have trouble telling the difference if you’re startled by, scared by, or unfamiliar with snakes. So what do you do if you see a snake inside your home?
Take the following steps to protect yourself and remove the threat without risking injury to yourself or to the animal.
ASSESS THE THREAT
Inside, you’re most likely to see a snake tucked into a corner or keeping close to a wall. These boundary areas make the snake feel protected since the shape of these areas prevents anyone or anything from approaching the snake’s back.
Snakes consider you a predator and will not attack unless threatened or sick. As soon as you notice the reptile, put distance between the two of you so the snake will see you as less of a threat. Do not try to move the snake, even with a broom or shovel, since you could injure the animal or put yourself in immediate danger.
If the snake positions itself with its head up and its mouth open, the animal is putting on a defensive display and may strike. Do not ever approach a wild snake in this position.
Consider the snake’s location and whether or not the animal poses a direct threat to anyone in your home. For example, cats and dogs may respond aggressively to snakes, and this opens them up to bite injuries.
CLEAR THE AREA
As you assess the threat, determine what you need to do to clear the area. If possible, you should leave the room that the snake is in.
Move any children or pets away from the snake. You may want to send your children to a friend’s house and confine your pets to a protected area while dealing with the snake.
CONTACT A WILDLIFE-REMOVAL PROFESSIONAL
Once you and the other members of your household are out of striking distance, call a snake-removal expert. A pest-control company that provides both extermination and wildlife removal should be able to help.
If you don’t know of any wildlife-removal professionals in your area, call your local animal-control office instead. Animal control may send a removal expert themselves or recommend a snake-removal expert in the area.
The wildlife-removal professional can give you a time estimate for their arrival. Use this time estimate to determine your next best step. If you live in a rural area, or if all the removal technicians are at other properties, take the steps outlined in the next section to restrict the snake’s movement.
If the technician can come quickly, simply stay away from the snake until the removal expert arrives. If you can see the snake without getting close to it, the removal expert may ask that you describe the reptile’s markings to determine whether or not the species is venomous and likely to be aggressive.
RESTRICT THE SNAKE’S MOVEMENT
While snakes can slither through small openings, they generally cannot get around a closed door or window. If possible, cut off the area where the snake is from the rest of your house. However, you should not close off potential routes to the outdoors since the snake could decide to go back outside on its own.
Encountering a snake can be a scary moment, especially inside your home, but taking the measures detailed above can protect you and your family from any potential injury.